Canada has extended its visa-free travel privileges to two more African nations along with 11 other countries from Asia, Central and South America.
This development, however, does not include Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.
The Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser made this announcement in a statement on Tuesday.
The countries now enjoying visa-free travel to Canada include Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts-Nevis, Panama, Argentina, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Morocco, Seychelles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Morocco from North Africa and Seychelles from East Africa are the new African additions.
Fraser elaborated that the expansion of the electronic travel authorization, or eTA program, simplifies the process for “known travellers” from these countries to visit Canada for tourism or business.
He emphasized the benefits, stating, “The expansion not only enhances convenience for travellers, it will also increase travel, tourism and economic benefits, as well as strengthen global bonds with these 13 countries.”
Under the eTA program, travellers will enjoy significant cost savings. While a visitor visa currently costs $100 per person and $500 for a family of five or more, an eTA only costs seven dollars per person and can remain valid for up to five years.
The Canadian government believes that this move will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for thousands of travellers to visit Canada for up to six months, whether for business or leisure.